Fiola Ceballos and Patty Orendain of Foton Tornadoes overcame the slight drizzle, strong wind and a hard-fighting Meralco side to pull off a 21-14, 15-21, 17-15 conquest in the PLDT Home Ultera-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Beach Volleyball Challenge Cup 2015 late Saturday at the Sands By the Bay in SM Mall of Asia.
Ceballos, the reigning Queen of the Sand, delivered a pair of attacks down the crucial stretch of the deciding set to essay the victory and tow the Tornadoes to the quarterfinals of this prestigious event organized by Sports Core with Accel as official outfitter, Sands By the Bay as venue partner and Maynilad as official water provider.
Also posting stunning conquest in this competition aired live over TV 5 were Amy’s composed of Len Cortel and Samantha Dawson, which dominated Philips Gold’s Aileen Abuel and Rossan Fajardo, 21-18, 21-12.
Cignal HD Spikers A’s Cha Cruz and Michelle Laborte pulled an upset of erstwhile undefeated Foton Hurricanes Pau Soriano and Bea Tan, 25-23, 21-14.
Gilligan’s Danica Gendrauli and Norie Diaz claimed the final quarterfinal berth after clobbering Petron Sprint 4T, 18-21, 21-17, 15-9.
The victory, however, is already worthless for Cruz and Laborte as they will be relegated to the classification phase after absorbing a pair of setbacks early on.
The quarterfinals in women’s division will be composed of Amy’s, Philips Gold, Cignal HD Spikers B, Petron XCS, Foton Tornadoes, Meralco, Foton Hurricanes and Gilligan’s. Action in the next round unfurls next week August 1.
In the men’s division, Centerstage escaped SM By the Bay B, 21-16, 18-21, 15-11; SM By the Bay A beat Champion Infinity B, 21-17, 18-21, 15-10; Cignal HD Spikers A overcame Perpetual-Molino A, 21-14, 21-10; and IEM swept Perpetual Molino B, 21-13, 21-11.
After breezing past the Meralco tandem of Jusabelle Brillo and Jem Guttierez in the first set, the Tornadoes had a difficult time setting up their plays as strong wind and sudden downpour started to take over, prompting them to surrender the second set, 15-21.
“Sobrang hirap po kasi malakas yung hangin. Yung set namin pumapasok sa kabilang court kasi sobrang lakas ng hangin. Kaya nag-adjust kami. Binabaan namin ang mga sets para hindi hanginin at mabibilis na plays ang ginawa namin para mahirapan sila maka-react sa depensa,” said Ceballos, who partnered with fellow Ilonggo spiker Jovelyn Gonzaga in a handful of beach volley tourneys.
The adjustment yielded a handsome result as the Meralco pair kept on guessing on defense early in the deciding set.
With Foton trailing by one, 13-14, Ceballos scored on a place shot followed by an attack error by Brillio to give the Tornadoes the lead, 15-14. But Guttierez tied it again at 15, putting the big weekend crowd at the edge of its seat despite the looming thunderstorm.
Ceballos, however, responded with back to back kills to complete the victory.
“Grabe yung endurance ni Fiola,” said Orendain, who partners with Ceballos for the first time. “Hindi sya nag-give up talaga. Sya ang nagdadala sa amin sa opensa.”